Arriving Camp Cody in Deming, NM: Journal Entries dated 17 - 18 September 1917

“Just out of El Paso we were temporarily delayed by a landslide but passing that we sailed merrily along for Deming. The day was cloudy and occasionally did the sun break thru. There were detached mountain ranges all about, but, in the immediate vicinity of the train, the land was flat and sandy, covered with cactus, horned-toads, tarantulas, and here and there a transient Mexican family seated about a camp fire beside their covered wagon.

At five o’clock the trained pulled into Deming. A fine mist was blowing and the sky was gray. We were forbidden to leave the train, but we could see out the window, extending off to the north lines of tents and rows of wooden mess shacks - almost as far as the eye could reach. In the distance long lines of motor trucks were to be seen; and as the train came to a stop the motors began to purr and move forward. They traveled at high speed across the soft red sand and soon were unloading our baggage. In due time we left the train and marched for a mile and a half to our headquarters. It was getting dark when the trucks began to unload their cargo of boxes, trunks and so forth.

As very often happens, a mistake was made, which resulted in all our baggage being left at the wrong company street; the solution was simply to move it all by hand. And even the sergeants worked! Fortunately, I rescued all my goods from the chaos.

It was raining, and almost dark, when we discovered that only three tents had been set up to accommodate a company of approximately sixty. These were intended for the regimental staff, the supply sergeant and the band director. But we went together, and those who couldn’t get into one of these three tents, slept on the tables in the mess shack. In Barry’s tent, where I slept, there was the Chief and Principle Musicians, two sergeants, three corporals and two privates.”

After we had all our equipment in the tents, piled about the center pole and our cots set up (see picture attached for Ernest Harrison) Harrison, Max Bixby and I set out to find a pie, some photo supplies, and a telegraph office, respectively. It was very dark and little puddles of water were all about. There was no light save the glare of the lights on passing autos, and the weird glow of the incinerators. For two miles we walked stepping into water frequently. Finally, we reached the station where I forwarded my telegram.

LeRoy's friend, Ernest Harrison.

LeRoy's friend, Ernest Harrison.

Next, we strolled up the main street of Deming. In general appearance, Deming is like any other small town except that a romantic color is added by the soldiers and Mexicans, both of which appear in great profusion. The streets had the appearance of a foreign bazaar. We went up one side and down the other, found some excellent malted milks and pies, then started home.

The road that was two miles up was four miles back. Once I stepped into water up to my knee, which seemed to appeal to the odd sense of humor that my companions possessed. It was pitch dark and muddy. The stars were beginning to break thru the clouds, which gave us hope for a bright morrow. At last, we were home, and tired enough to turn in for our first cool night in Camp Cody.”

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“We arose at five o’clock after a very cool night. But that was soon forgotten in the beauty of the sunrise. The sun was breaking thru the clouds, happily revealing the Florida mountains to the southeast, the Tres Hermana to the south and a range to the north. They are going to be good friends to us. Sometimes their heads are in the clouds and others they stand out brilliantly in the morning sun.”

Special thank you to Michael Kromeke for the picture of Ernest Harrison. Check out Michael's website for more amazing pictures from Camp Cody during WWI: